Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer
Every driver knows that getting behind the wheel after a few drinks is a bad idea, yet hundreds of Nashville drivers do so each year.
In fact, Davidson County, where most of the Nashville metro area is located, is one of the deadliest counties for drunk driving accidents in the state. From 2007 to 2017, alcohol was a factor in more than 8,000 car crashes, making up more than 10% of all Tennessee drunk driving accidents.
Although drunk driving is a hot topic across the nation, with organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) initiating strong campaigns against drunk driving, it’s still one of the leading causes of traffic accident fatalities in the United States.
For more than three decades, NST Law has represented families who were victims of DUI-related collisions. If you or a loved one has been hurt or killed in a drunk driving accident, our Nashville car accident lawyers can help. Call us today at 800-529-4004 for a free consultation about your legal options.
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Nashville Drunk Driving Accidents
Driving under the influence (DUI), driving while intoxicated (DWI), and operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% are illegal in Tennessee and punishable by criminal charges.
However, while it may be satisfying to see the drunk driver who hits you incur heavy fines and jail time, criminal charges do not compensate you for personal property damages, medical bills, and the emotional trauma of a drunk driving wreck.
Fortunately, you have other legal options to hold the intoxicated driver accountable. A Nashville car accident attorney can help you explore your legal options in civil court.
Nashville may hold some of the highest rates of drunk driving due to certain characteristics of the city itself. As a college town — with Vanderbilt University, Tennessee State University, and Belmont University in the city limits — more college students may be getting behind the wheel after a night of partying.
Nashville is also a popular tourist destination. From the Grand Ole Opry to The District, which is home to several bars and honky tonks, and Lower Broadway, there are several hotspots in the city where the risk of being involved in a drunk driving accident is higher.
Even if you aren’t traveling through one of the city’s entertainment districts, you should still be careful on the roads, from I-40 to the smaller streets in Brentwood and other suburbs, especially at night.
Pay close attention to the behavior of other drivers, such as weaving or drifting into other lanes, speeding, or otherwise driving erratically. Call a cab or rideshare, or ask a friend to be a designated driver if you’ve been drinking.
However, even with the best of care, anyone can be involved in a drunk driving accident, and the effects are often tragic.
What should I do if I’ve been hit by a drunk driver?
The first few minutes after being struck by a car are frightening and painful. You may have been hit at a high rate of speed and are worried that you or your passengers are badly injured. Try to stay calm and call 911 right away.
The police and emergency medical team can help you and protect you and your passengers. Following the proper steps after an accident can also help you and your lawyer build a solid claim for damages.
Always Call Emergency Services
If the other driver has been drinking, the last thing they want you to do is to call the police. However, according to the Metropolitan Government of Nashville & Davidson County, it’s illegal not to report an accident where someone was injured.
Beyond following the law, you also want officers on the scene if someone is intoxicated. The police will gather evidence and witness statements and put together a police report that determines the cause of the accident and who was at fault.
Seek Immediate Medical Attention
Injuries from a drunk driving accident can often be severe and even life-threatening. Even if neither car was going at a high rate of speed, many car accident injuries don’t present symptoms immediately. EMS teams are trained to look for “hidden injuries” and diagnose them, allowing you to start treatment immediately.
This gives you the best chance of a full recovery. Neck, back, and spine injuries are common and can get progressively worse without treatment. Your medical records, including emergency treatment and rehabilitation, will also be part of your civil suit.
The emergency department at TriStar Skyline Medical Center is open 24/7 and handles more than 66,000 emergency room visits each year.
According to the hospital’s website, you need emergency care if you are experiencing:
- Bleeding that cannot be stopped
- Blood in the urine or bloody diarrhea
- Chest pain
- Coughing or vomiting blood
- Fainting or dizziness
- Intense abdominal pain
- Severe sprains or dislocations
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Talk Only to Police
Anything you say after an accident may be used by the other party to shift some of the liability from them onto you. Talk only to the police when giving your statement, and secure representation from a reliable Nashville car accident attorney, such as NST Law, to advocate for you when dealing with insurance companies or the other driver.
Seeking Compensation After a Drunk Driving Accident in Nashville
Filing a civil suit against the other driver allows you to recoup expenses you incurred due to the accident. These costs can include property damage, such as repairing or replacing your car, medical bills, including aftercare or physical therapy, and time missed at work.
You may also be entitled to non-economic damages for pain and suffering, mental anguish, and emotional trauma.
Often, drunk driving accidents can be deadly. If you lost a loved one in an accident, your car accident attorney might file a wrongful death suit on your behalf, and you may receive damages for loss of companionship and loss of consortium.
Under Tennessee’s Financial Responsibility Law, Tennessee drivers must carry liability insurance. Often, the dollar amount of damages may depend on the other driver’s coverage.
The law states the following required minimum limits:
- $25,000 for each injury or death per accident
- $50,000 for total injuries or deaths per accident
- $15,000 for property damage per accident
According to Tennessee code, there is a one-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims.
Establishing Fault in a Nashville Drunk Driving Accident
Your lawyer must establish that the other driver was at fault to recover damages. A police report containing the other driver’s over-limit BAC often goes a long way toward establishing fault and negligence on their part. Other elements of the police report also establish negligence.
Tennessee’s comparative fault law may also play a role in the amount of damages you receive. Tennessee is a modified comparative fault state, which means that if you’re more than 50% to blame for the accident, you may not recover damages.
The drunk driver might try to shift the blame to you and avoid paying damages. This is why it’s so important to talk only to the police or your personal injury attorney after a drunk driving car accident in Nashville.
Have you been in an accident with a drunk driver?
Drunk driving is dangerous, illegal, and can cause life-changing, catastrophic, or fatal injuries.
If you’ve been struck by a drunk driver in Nashville or Davidson County, contact a reputable car accident lawyer. They can help you recover damages to cover your medical bills and any loss of income that you experience because of your injuries.
Drunk drivers deserve to be held accountable for their actions, including hurting you and your loved ones. Let the experienced legal team at NST Law — Champions for the Injured — help you get the compensation you deserve.
Call us today at 800-529-4004, or complete our online form to schedule a free consultation about your case.
Contact us for a free consultation now so that we can review your case and decide how we can best help you.